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First major Afghan railway opens

AFGHANISTAN: Freight services began running on Afghanistan's first major railway on August 20-21. This followed the signing on August 4 of a three-year agreement for Uzbek national railway UTY to operate the 75 km 1 520 mm gauge line, which it built at a cost of US$165m using Asian Development Bank funding.

...It runs though an empty landscape to a freight terminal near Mazar-i-Sharif airport.

...Afghanistan's only other main line railway is a short spur across the border from Turkmenistan. However an Iranian-funded 1 435 mm gauge line is under construction from Iran to Herat, and studies are underway for the creation of a northern rail corridor from Herat to Mazar-i-Sharif and Tajikistan. This would provide the Central Asian republics with a route to the sea; studies are underway for a link from Atamyrat in Turkmenistan to Andkhoi which could link with this corridor.

This may only be possible because the Pashtun-based Taliban has less influence in north-west Afghanistan.

Ambitions for Transasian rail transport were covered in the diary Another Great Game and a number of Salon updates.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 02:47:43 PM EST
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